I am a Khafre

I’ve been called by many a name
Childhood nicknames
Family pet names
Apparently what I call myself immaterial
Others choosing to christen me as they choose

Forced to carry a foreign name
A name alien to my culture
Bear the load of an unwanted name
Given many such names
Some do not appear in any documentation
Aliases used behind my back
Boy, Nigger, Thug

Inspired by The Champ
Like Kunta Kente
Forsaking his slave name
Opting for a chosen identity
Embracing his heritage
Ali The Great
King of the Rumble in the Jungle

Chanting Ali, Ali, Ali
Turning my back on Confirmation
My apologies to The Pope
The Vatican can do without another convert
I don’t want another unwanted name

Aiding and abetting Kwame Ture
Killing Stokely Carmichael
Lynching Cassius Clay
Burying Dona Richards
Forsaking all my unwanted names

Deemed a kaffir,
AKA kafir
Forgive me
For raising such a thorny subject

It’s been piercing my heart for years
My people insulted, denigrated
Being black ‘n beautiful
Their only crime
Subtle connotations
Houseboy, Sambo, Natives,
Harsh expletives, obscenities, cusswords
Negro, Kaffer
Unknowingly anointing me

Biko said I was black
Sobukwe called me an African
Mbeki broke it down for me
Rasta calls me King…

An excerpt from “I Am A Khafre’ a poem found in the anthology Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit. This poem was inspired by the Richard Sherman ‘thug’ incident.

© Copyright 2014 knox mahlaba

Author of Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit


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